Tips to stop your neighbour’s dog from barking
Stop your neighbour’s dog from barking: The first thing that needs to be accepted is that dogs bark; it is part of their normal behaviour repertoire and is one of the ways they communicate. The trick is to try to identify the type of barking. More about that below.
By Wendy Wilson, DIPCABT (NOCN UK), CertCAB, Ttouch Practitioner Level 1
Talk to stop your neighbour’s dog from barking
When it comes to sorting out the problem, there’s no point in communicating your feelings to the dog. If you shout at a dog to stop barking, as far as the dog is concerned you are simply joining in, so shouting doesn’t help. Nor does throwing things at the dog to try to make him stop barking – all this achieves is to make the dog frightened and will result in Spooky barking, which we will discuss below.
No, the communicating should happen with your neighbour. Approach him in a friendly, non-confrontational way. Threatening him with the things you “will do” if the problem continues will not lead to a solution.
Always ask if the owner is aware of the problem, as many behaviours only happen when the owner is at work. Before telling the owner what you suggest he does, ask him if he has any ideas that may be helpful in changing the situation, after all Fido is his dog.
Types of barking
There are different types of barking and if you have an idea what sort of barking your neighbour’s dog is engaging in, it will help you when you go to discuss the matter with them.
- Watchdog Barking
This is very common in complexes due to a lot of activity, such as builders, deliveries, children playing, cats, garden service, rubbish collection etc. This barking is to warn any “intruder” (in the dog’s mind, at least) that they have been seen and to alert other dogs in the area that there is an unknown person or dog/cat around.
- Request Barking
This is attention-seeking and happens generally when the owner is home and the dog has trained his or her owner well. So, barking to be let out, let in, barking for the owner to play etc.
- Spooky Barking
This occurs when the dog is fearful of something, it is his way of keeping people/dogs away. It is more serious because if provoked this dog may bite to protect himself.
- Boredom barking
This happens when the dog’s daily needs for mental and physical simulation are not met. These dogs bark all the time in an attempt to make themselves feel better. This type of barking seems more prevalent in dogs who are left alone for long periods either inside or outside.
Suggestions for each type to stop your neighbour’s dog from barking
So, what could you suggest when your neighbour has a:
It helps to break the ice if you tell your neighbour how much you think Fido is a great watchdog, but it seems he is now barking at anything he sees moving outside the gate. Blocking Fido’s view with a wooden board on the gate may be helpful in some cases, but in others, hearing the noise but not knowing its source may make him feel frustrated and make the barking worse! Ideally, his owner needs to take him out to “meet” all the things that are causing him to bark – so they are no longer seen as “intruders”.
This happens when the owner is at home, and you need to be tactful so as not to upset your neighbour. You could start with Fred seeming to be more vocal of late, and has Mr. Jones noticed? Humour can sometimes save the day with something along the lines of “Our dogs have us well trained, don’t they?” If Mr. Jones doesn’t have a problem with the barking there is not much you can do about this one, other than to get a third party involved (lay a complaint with estate or complex management).
The dog barks at noises / people / vehicles but backs away from the perceived threat with his tail normally tucked between his legs. This dog would need help from a qualified behaviourist because he needs to have a specific Desensitisation and Counter-Conditioning Programme worked out for him. These dogs are already fearful and if something further happens to make them more scared they may well resort to aggression to escape the perceived threat.
The dog who sits in the garden and barks in a monotone Woof – Woof – Woof, all day long is likely so bored that he knows every blade of grass in the garden. You could mention to your neighbour that Boris barks all day and seems to be bored, and then suggest that there are lots of dog chew toys and brain games on the market that could help keep Boris busy. You could also suggest a Dog Walker. Once Boris has more mental and physical stimulation the problem should go away.